The Attorney General of Pakistan, Justice (retd) Malik Qayyum has warned the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) that it could face problems if the players banned for appearing in the rebel Indian Cricket League approach the court on the matter.
The board has banned former captain, Inzamam-ul Haq, Abdul Razzaq, Imran Farhat, Taufiq Umar, Shabbir Ahmed and Azhar Mahmood from playing domestic cricket after they returned from participating in the ICL last month. The players say if the ban on playing domestic cricket continues they could lose their jobs.
Qayyum, who as a judge of the Lahore High Court headed the famous inquiry into match fixing in Pakistan cricket eight years ago, said the players would be justified in approaching the court.
“The ban on them is not justified in legal terms. The board is basically stopping them from earning their livelihood which is the right of any Pakistani citizen,” he said. “It is a case of restraint of trade,” he added.
The Attorney General also cautioned the PCB that his office was entitled and had the authority to ask the court to take sue motto notice of the ban on the players.
“If the players want, they can approach our office for help. But we hope this matter is resolved amicably and the ban is lifted soon,” Qayyum said.
He said Dr Naseem Ashraf, who heads PCB, appeared to be a sensible and fair man. So he could not understand why he would resort to such unjustified ban on the players.
“The ICL is just like any other private cricket tournament and since there are no contractual obligations between the board and these players, how can they be told if they can go and play in the ICL or not?” he asked.
Farhat and the other players have accused the board of towing the line of the Indian Cricket Board, which has launched its own Twenty20 Indian Premier League competition which is backed by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The players are consulting on filing a petition against the PCB in court. Qayyum said the PCB could not have two policies on the same issue.